Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Insect hunting and fishing

Yesterday I bought Liam a fishing/bug catching net. I'd seen them at the discount store in town when it opened a few weeks ago, and had been meaning to buy him one. Caitlin was going to my friend's house for the afternoon and Liam was disappointed that he couldn't stay - I offered to buy him the net as compensation for coming to the shops and then home with me, and he was thrilled. We did some groceries first, then he asked for the money to go and get his net, and ran ahead to the shop. When I got there he was coming out the door, looking very disappointed, and the people in the shop were looking concerned. He said he'd asked for it and they said they didn't have them anymore - there were certainly none in the bucket at the front door like I'd seen previously! He was starting to get upset, and I said we'd have a look and then I'd ask again. Up the back, in a tub with all the left over Halloween gear, there was ONE net - and it was blue, perfect for Liam! So, waving it triumphantly and luckily not knocking anything of the shelf, he took it up the front and paid for it himself (which is a new thing he's started doing recently).

He chased Millie with it and caught her a few times on the way back to the car, and couldn't wait to get home to try it out on bugs. He rushed into the yard as soon as we pulled up and ran around after bugs and birds and bees, but wasn't able to catch anything. I tried to help for a while but I had no luck either. (On Monday there was a swarm of bugs through the yard and it would have been impossible not to catch anything, but most of them had moved on by yesterday afternoon). Liam said he'd like to try to catch some fish with it and wanted to go down to the dam. I'd been feeling dizzy and light headed all day and didn't feel up to a walk to the dam, which I explained to him. He suggested we drive - at first I thought 'I'm not driving such a short distance' (my instinctual response) then realised that it could be the difference between him getting to the dam or not.

So Millie and Liam and I jumped in the car - Millie wanted her seatbelt on, while Liam was excited about not needing it as we were just on the property - and we drove down. As we approached the dam there was a bird of prey hovering near the edge, it moved ahead of us as I slowly pulled in, then landed at the the edge of the water for a drink. It was bigger than the birds we normally see hovering around here, with a speckled brown coat and white underneath its tail. We looked it up in the Field Guide to Victorian Fauna on the ipad when we got home, and I think it was a Little Eagle. I've never seen one before and it certainly made the trip to the dam worthwhile!

Liam fished in the dam for a while and I was going to stay in the car and rest, then thought a better decision would be to hop out and enjoy the wind and the fresh air and the feel of the dam. I scooped up some mud for him with his net and we found one little slimy creature. He was so happy playing there, and after a few minutes he said he'd had enough and we could go home and dry out his net. We tried to catch a few bugs from the reeds around the dam, and I got one - the same ones that were swarming on Monday so he wasn't overly interested as he'd caught several of them with his hands. We drove home with the net out the window to see if we caught anything in passing - I don't think we did, however he was satisfied that we'd really given his net a good try out and he no longer seemed to care that we hadn't caught anything.

The whole trip to the dam was a really lovely 10 minutes and I'm so glad I was able to say yes and find a way to make it happen, rather than dismissing his excitement and saying I was too unwell to go.

Thursday, 1 November 2012


For weeks the kids have been talking about Halloween and wanting to go trick or treating, and wanting to dress up. We've had lots of Halloween based discussions - what it means, why there are scary TV shows all day on Halloween, lots of talk about witches (interesting too that even though we are reading Harry Potter, when Caitlin thinks of witches and dressing up as one, its as the cackling, scary type witch), lots of thought about what types of lollies they'd like to get on Halloween.... But we hadn't really firmed up any plan about what to do on the night. I was feeling a bit unsure about the whole thing as I'd never celebrated Halloween myself (although when I was in Canada I did go on a Ghost Tour of Victoria, BC, on Halloween and that was very cool). Then yesterday morning I read Pam Larrichia's newsletter and she she suggested embracing Halloween in whatever way the children wanted to, and that sounded like a joyful way to approach it!

So then I started gearing myself up for letting the kids go into town and knocking on doors, and when they woke up I asked them what they wanted to do - their idea was to dress up in their costumes and knock on our doors (we have 5 external doors to our house) and Trick or Treat at home. Which was perfect, didn't seem too challenging to me, and I was very glad that I had let them tell me what they wanted rather than me offering what I thought they wanted.

We went into town later to take Millie to the doctor and then take Caitlin to Girl Guides, and stopped at the shops in between to get lollies. We went into the Discount Store first (its only new to town so still very exciting) and Caitlin bought some fake fingers with long red nails to add to her costume, then we popped into the IGA and bought a variety of packets of lollies. Caitlin wanted a lantern as well (because she wanted to do the Trick or Treating after dark) and I meant to go back and grab one on the way out but I forgot. Then I remembered they had the lanterns they made for the Into The Light Festival at the start of spring, and she was happy with the idea of using them.

I dropped her at Guides then went home and kind of forgot about Halloween as I was quite tired and just wanted to relax a bit. When she came home she reminded me I had said I'd look for her broom and her witches hat - I managed to find the broom but not the hat. Also found her wig which has the same gold tinsel as her broom. I offered to make a witches hat out of black cardboard which turned out ok, I was even able to find some white netting to put over it so it looked more like the bought one that I couldn't find (we bought it for Halloween last year and I'm not sure when it was last used). I found an old white sheet for Millie who wanted to be a ghost, and cut some eye holes out of it and she was very pleased. In the meantime Liam had put his dragon costume on and was knocking on the doors - he didn't want to wait until dark, so we gave him a few lollies and then convinced him to wait a bit for more, because Caitlin really wanted to do it together after sunset. 

After a late tea it was finally dark enough and all costumes were ready. For about an hour the kids were outside, knocking on our different doors, we'd open the door and Caitlin would cackle, they all shouted 'Trick or Treating' and Caitlin would cackle 'This house is haunted!!!!' and we'd give them the lolly basket to choose from (then there'd be a quick negotiation about whether they could eat this one now or save it - Caitlin likes it to be even so they tried to reach agreement each time). Millie joined in for a while then came inside. It was fun for everyone, and a very easy way to celebrate Halloween. They didn't eat all the lollies - they actually called an end to it when they felt like they had enough (probably about half the stash) and came inside very happy.